AGTA News. Airport Ground Transportation Association. The New AGTA Web Site and Technological Growing Pains

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1 March 20, 2011 AGTA News Airport Ground Transportation Association Operators and Airports WORKING TOGETHER for Better Customer Service The New AGTA Web Site and Technological Growing Pains As many of you have already seen, the new web site is now live. While the design layout has been done for some time now, the difficulty with going live has been related to the unique membership structure of the AGTA. Unlike most organizations where a membership consists of a single person, the AGTA membership is an organization where two persons in their local organization are able to enjoy the benefits of that membership. Also, an organization can add additional persons to that membership for a minimal cost per person. This presented a unique challenge for designing the database that supports the new web site. As some of you may have experienced, we have had some technical issues. Please be patient with us as we work to improve the user experience on the new web site. We are excited that each current member can now log onto the web site for access to member-only information. One major benefit of the new web site is that individual member s personal contact information is no longer published openly on the web. Instead, the membership is generically listed and provides a link to the member organization s web site. In order to see contact information for other members, you must be a member and then, log in. Screenshot of the new RFP page Inside this issue: Airport Taxi P.2 Airport Executives P.9 Airport Bus P.13 Airport Rail P.16 Airport Shuttle Vans P.18 Current member features: Member-updated * details such as address/phone/ /company etc. *One important thing to note is that changes made to your company/address information will be applied to each member with that address. Only contact information will be unique to the individual. A form for submitting an RFP/Job Posting to the web site. Once submitted, the administrator will review and approve it prior to posting Online access to conference presentations (Page now exists, presentations from past conferences to be uploaded soon.) Future member features: Online conference registration w/ payment. (will be live soon) Joining and renewal of membership w/ payment. (will be live soon) Survey capabilities Discussion forum - All members section - Sections unique to membership type (Airports Only, Operators Only, etc.) Newsletters page for access to current and previous newsletters (soon to be live). David Long, Web Developer Galactic Logic

2 Editor s Comments-Taxi Articles In this issue of the AGTA news, as with most issues, the majority of articles seem to be about airport taxi issues. Many have become common place to past readers. A mayor or city council overturning an airport contract for a single walk up taxi concession is nothing new. The first article deals with the current situation at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport where there are efforts to reduce the number of taxi companies serving the airport from twelve companies to just three. Consolidation of airport taxi operations from a large group of small or individual owner-operated independent taxi drivers is no small political feat. Hundreds of taxi drivers will organize protests that the airport, city council, the mayor, or all three are attempting to take away their livelihood, their jobs, and above all the American way of life! Airport officials are, however, tired of fielding complaints about rude behavior, short trip refusals, overcharging, lost articles that disappear from the back seat of a cab, etc. These airport landside managers want clean, newer, energy efficient cabs and drivers who accept credit cards without a hassle, speak fluent English, and actually know where they are going. More and more, aviation directors and elected officials are saying enough is enough, putting their current systems under analysis, and are structuring single-concessionaire or limited entry airport taxi systems with new requirements that demand better equipment and performance. Such is the case with the second article in this issue, coming from the Honolulu Airport. For some time the airport has attempted to operate an open airport with all taxis permitted in the city to serve the airport, but used a stand management concession to manage taxi service at the curb. Unfortunately, the brunt of the article seems to criticize the stand management concessionaire, Ampco System Parking rather than the system of an open entry taxi airport. We can predict that the taxi system at Honolulu will not improve until the basic system of which taxis and the total number of taxis permitted to serve the airport is brought under control. The third taxi article, emanating from Las Vegas is interesting not because of long hauling, a common practice by some airport taxi drivers, but rather, it is a practice that might be encouraged by the taxi companies. Las Vegas is one of the last cities in North America where the taxi drivers are employees, paid by the hour and by tips. Thus, we would think there would be no interest in long-hauling since drivers would be more interested in getting back to the airport or to a hotel stand to get another fare. Being paid by the hour, their total revenue would be a function of the number of trips not having longer trips which may consume more time. However, it would appear that the taxi company prospers more with longer fares on the meter and more revenue for the time spent. Thus, there are constant complaints about being long-hauled at Las Vegas International Airport. The wrap-up taxi articles in this edition include the effort to move CNG to the front of the taxi lines at Dallas Love and DFW Airports. In the Airport Executive section, readers will see that taxi companies in Dallas received considerable public funds to purchase natural gas-fueled cabs, but getting them into service with first-in-line privileges at the area s airports was proving more difficult than getting the funds for these new vehicles. Settled with a favorable federal lawsuit when sued by independent Dallas taxi drivers at Love Field, the battle on this issue at DFW is just beginning. Now, any landside manager can tell you that airport taxi drivers, irrespective of their many different religions, hold one thing very sacred -- their position in the airport taxi line. A very small number of taxis, given the privilege of always returning to the airport and going to the head of the line will easily cut the number of trips for the remaining taxis by half or more. One can expect strong protests. We'll follow this one... Getting back in line as quickly as possible is also very important to airport taxi commandos who zoom back to the airport especially if the airport has a short trip policy which allow the driver to avoid going to the back of the taxi line. Such was the case in San Francisco as they discussed what to do about the thirty minutes they allotted to cabbies to return to the airport as proof they were on a short trip and should be allowed a one time pass to the short trip line. If they make it back in time it means waiting only 20 minutes or so for another fare vs. a typical three hour wait from the back of the taxi line. However, as the article points out such a short trip rule encourages unsafe driving as drivers speed back to the taxi dispatch area. The final taxi article deals with Panama City Airport and their attempt to consolidate their taxi service into a single provider similar to that at other Florida airports primarily at the Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. Airports which cater to the tourist industry are far more likely to overcome the objections and cries of unfair treatment from independent taxi drivers and strive to improve their taxi services through limited or single operator concession for on-demand walkup taxi services. Page 2

3 Council Delays Charlotte Airport Taxi Plan Plan to limit cabs raises questions, as does felony history of one cab firm's owners. By Steve Harrison Charlotte Observer February 15, 2011 The Charlotte City Council didn't vote Monday night on three new contracts for taxi companies to operate at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport due to questions about one recommended company's ownership by two convicted felons. Council members discussed the new overall concept for awarding the contracts - which would reduce the number of taxi firms licensed to operate at the airport from 12 to three. But the council didn't ask City Manager Curt Walton or aviation director Jerry Orr why the company in question- King/Royal Cab - was recommended. Council members praised Orr for much of the discussion, saying his plan to improve customer service was sound. "That conversation will come up another night," council member Andy Dulin, a Republican, said of the new taxi plan after the meeting. King/Royal Cab, one of the three firms recommended by Orr to operate at the airport, is owned by Kashmary Enterprises, which is two-thirds owned by two brothers who have been convicted of felonies. One of the brothers was convicted of conspiracy to secure 40 fraudulent driver's licenses. Orr has said he didn't know about their criminal record, and said the job of licensing cab companies is the job of the Passenger Vehicle for Hire office of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. PVH officials have given conflicting stories to WCNC-TV as to what they knew about Javed and Naheed Kashmary. Monroe Whitesides, an attorney for King/Royal Cab, said Monday night that the PVH office has known about the convictions for three years, and had no problem giving the brothers a license to operate a cab company in the city. He said King/Royal Cab is the best company for the job. "It would be an arbitrary and capricious decision to throw out King/Royal Cab for something that happened in the past," Whitesides said. Orr said last week that King/Royal Cab was one of three companies recommended because their proposal was among the best. Orr wants newer and cleaner cabs, with amenities such as GPS and credit-card machines. The other companies he recommended are Crown Cab and Taxi USA. Orr has said the brothers' criminal record is in the past. Also Monday, Orr highlighted some changes to the taxi contract at the airport. The proposed permit fee for each cab was $3,000; it's now been reduced to $500. Orr had also wanted all airport cabs to have one paint scheme; he's now only requiring an airport decal. Javed Kashmary served almost three months in the federal prison in Beckley, W.Va., for "transaction structuring," associated with soliciting fake driver's licenses. Naheed Kashmary served 14 months in federal prison in Gilmer, W.Va., for fraud. He is on probation until February Page 3

4 Airport Taxi Service Under State Scrutiny Complaints and an upcoming high-profile global summit prompt the new administration to review its contract with Ampco By Gene Park HST February 07, 2011 After a flight from Hilo, Honolulu lawyer Jae Park hailed a cab at the airport. Alas, he recalled, the driver barely spoke English. "I told him I wanted to go to Kalihi," Park said. "I knew the street address and he looked confused at first. He started driving, and it seemed like he was going in the right direction. Then I ended up in Fort Shafter." DENNIS ODA / Taxi dispatchers at Honolulu Airport help connect arriving visitors with cabdrivers near the interna tional gates. The taxi management concession has been run by Ampco System Parking since 2004, but the state is reviewing the arrangement. TheCab has been fighting for years to have the contract put out for bid and filed a complaint in August. Park said he noticed the driver had a global positioning system in the cab, and asked why it wasn't on. "He just kind of looked at it and said, 'No,'" Park said. "I said, 'What do you mean, "No?" Do you need directions?'" Park said the delay cost him about $5 more than it should have. Moreover, the driver also did not offer to help with his bags. "I pulled them out myself," he recalled. "I hadn't ridden a cab in ages, and this was a terrible experience." Anecdotes like Park's have prompted the new state administration to focus close attention on the contract for taxi dispatch management at Honolulu Airport. The review comes as the state anticipates a rejuvenated tourism industry and November's high-profile Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting. Ampco System Parking has managed taxi service at the airport since 2004, when the contract last was put out for bid. The number of formal complaints about the company is relatively small. The state Department of Transportation logged three complaints about Ampco in 2008, 12 in 2009 and nine through September of last year. The Better Business Bureau lists Ampco as an A+ business and has fielded only one complaint about the company in the last three years. But Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz says there is room for improvement and that the new administration has made that a priority. "I would say they're not meeting people's expectations in terms of efficiency and customer service," said Schatz. "This is important not just because of APEC. It's critical that visitors and residents alike are treated well and efficiently at the airport." According to some of the formal complaints, drivers have been rude to passengers or disregard directions. In one complaint a passenger told the driver to take the H-1 freeway and not Nimitz Highway, but the driver took Nimitz anyway. At least two complaints in 2010 were filed from one driver who complained about other drivers stealing his customers by cutting in front of him. "On one side of the coin, one complaint is too many," said Steve Choo, Ampco regional manager in Hawaii. "But we look at the ratio, and I think we're doing a pretty good job, all things considered." More than 350,000 cab fares a year are taken at Honolulu Airport. That translates to about 1,000 trips a day... Ampco System Parking won the contract in May Since then the contract has been renewed annually without being put out to bid. TheCab complained to the state attorney general's office in August about the contract being renewed without bids. In response the attorney general's office pointed to a state law that states that ground transportation services and parking lot operations at airports do not have to be put out for bid. "Then why did they go through the hoops of putting out it out for bid in the first place?" Higa now asks. Page 4

5 Higa claims that if TheCab had continued to pay its flat rate of $37,000 a month for airport rent, the state would have received $2.2 million more than what Ampco has paid over the last seven years. Ampco pays the state based on the number of trips dispatched each month. Interim state department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto, who took the helm of the second largest state agency a few weeks ago, said he has yet to look into the issue. Schatz said the new airports deputy director, Ford Fuchigami, is moving to address the situation. State transportation spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said with a new administration, everything is being reassessed, particularly the taxi contract. "It's definitely high up on the list of things to do," he said. "I know it's something they're really looking at, with APEC coming up." I-Team: Former Cab Company Worker Alleges Rampant Fraud By George Knapp February 11, 2011 Las Vegas taxi drivers have long complained that cab companies force them to cheat passengers by taking them the long way, called long-hauling. Now, a former cab company supervisor says his company not only told drivers to do it, they taught them how. Every day, the I-Team gets calls and s from drivers saying they are forced to take passengers on the long route or risk being fired. Current and former taxi cops have told the same story for the past three years, adding that their agency won't enforce the laws because long-hauling means millions of dollars a year to the taxi companies, even though it is illegal. And now, we are hearing it from a taxi insider who says he was fired after he told his drivers to stop stealing from the passengers. "Through the years, they learned to cull out the honest drivers and that has left them with a big pot of long-haul drivers," said taxi driver supervisor Gary Gubitz... This isn't the first time Adam Graff (Gubitz's attorney) has heard stories about widespread longhauling, especially within Desert Cab. Another of his clients is Scott Lewis, the former Airport Control Officer for the Taxi Authority. Lewis told the I-Team back in 2008 that he was fired specifically because he continued to write citations to drivers who long-hauled out of the airport. The brand new chairwoman of the board which oversees the Taxi Authority says long hauling is a major concern. Her proposal is to ask the legislature to increase fines on drivers who get caught. "I think if you take the profit out of the act, then you help remove the motive. That is where I would like to start," said Chairwoman Iliana Drobkin. Increasing the fines on drivers will do very little to stop long-hauling without active enforcement. In the year leading to July 2010, there were 26 million cab rides in Las Vegas, but only 149 drivers fined for longhauling. Scott Lewis says officers have been ordered to not write tickets, and the drivers know it. "It's all collusion. They are playing with each other," said a former cab driver. The real problem, according to a veteran cabbie, is that some companies, Desert in particular, pressure drivers to long-haul. Those who don't measure up to the meter take of the long-haulers get fired. He alleges Desert Cab teaches new drivers how to do it. They have what the drivers refer to as Cheating School. If you are brand new coming into Desert, they will assign you a time to see this," said the driver. "They are told if they want to keep their job, they have to long-haul... Page 5

6 CNG taxis move to front of the line at Dallas airport, incite protests By Eric Loveday RSS Feed February 11, 2011 Independent taxi drivers in the city of Dallas, TX, have protested a policy change that allows 87 natural gas-fueled cabs to move to the front of the pick-up line at the city's Love Field Airport. The City of Dallas instituted the policy in an attempt to improve air quality, but hundreds of cabs, which run on gasoline, have been bumped to the back of the pack. Two weeks ago, 200 taxis drivers, all of which drive gasoline-fueled cabs, gathered in front of Dallas City Hall to protest the city's policy change. NPR reports that the protesters chanted: We are going to continue to protest until these policies are changed. We will no longer be ignored. We will no longer be ignored. Owners of gas-fed cabs argue that the CNG taxis have essentially stolen their business. Kevin Cantrell, a taxi driver who owns a gasoline-fueled minivan, stated: They're [CNG taxis] pushing all these drivers out of Love Field and into the stands and out into the streets. It's cutting my pay in half or less. Cantrell, along with other independent taxi drivers, point out that natural gas conversions can runs as high as $15,000 an amount that most cab drivers can't afford. However, Dallas' taxi companies such as Cowboy Cab and Yellow Cab have no problem forking over the extra cash for conversions. The city insists that the move is aimed at improving air quality, but independent taxi drivers believe the policy was put in place to knock them out of business. Page 6 SFO targets taxis rewarded for speed demon ways By Mike Rosenberg Bay Area News Group December 07, 2010 Thousands of taxi drivers leave San Francisco International Airport each day and then race up and down Peninsula freeways at hair-raising speeds in a desperate attempt to drop off their customers and get back to the airport within 30 minutes. If they make it, the airport waives a $4 fee and lets the taxis cut to the front of a pickup line that can take more than two hours to move through. That they are able to reach downtown San Francisco or Santa Clara County and make it back before the clock runs out may seem unbelievable to even the fastest freeway commuters. But they do it because it pays, and many cabbies say it's the only way to make a decent living "playing" the airport. Now, the same airport officials who unwittingly sparked the beat-the-clock competition by instituting the policy in 2002 have had enough. They are proposing to end the incentive. "The reward is so great that it encourages drivers to speed, drive recklessly and, in some cases, cheat the system," said airport deputy director Tryg McCoy. But any changes would likely come with a cost: higher fares for passengers. Originally, the plan was intended to compensate drivers who wait hours in the pickup line, only to get a measly $10 fare to a nearby city such as San Bruno or Millbrae. Under those conditions, a driver would be lucky to break even on the trip after paying the airport's $4 trip fee and splitting the profits with his company. And it has worked on some levels, attracting more cabs to the airport. About 3,000 of San Francisco's 5,000 taxi drivers now regularly spend time in an airport arrivals pickup line, providing plenty of transportation for travelers.

7 The drivers are there in hopes of swooping up passengers with long trips that lead to huge fares not possible within San Francisco proper. So many taxi drivers showed up in protest to an Airport Commission meeting at San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday that officials tabled a proposal to end the program. The plan would have likely led to higher fares, including a $17 minimum fare to help protect drivers from losing money on short trips; currently there is no minimum. But airport officials said there will eventually be changes. "It is a problem. We need to solve it one way or another," said commission President Larry Mazzola. McCoy said airport officials will try to find a better answer. They had spent the past nine months meeting with drivers a dozen times and holding 30 hours of discussion before asking to end the program. "My goal is to tip the scales back to even" between safety and the drivers' right to make a living, McCoy said. "It's the right thing to do for the customers." The taxi drivers took issue with the criticism of their driving, saying they are safe drivers, especially considering how many miles they log. "It is a concern, it's an issue, but it's not as urgent as they seem to portray it," said Mark Gruberg, a cabbie since 1983 and member of the United Taxicab Workers. The cabdrivers have proposed either a program with distance-based incentives, like the one they say works in New York City, or higher minimum fares of at least $20 to $25. "I don't think eliminating the 'short' will eliminate the concern" of unsafe driving, said Barry Taranto, a retired SFO cabbie who is now a taxi driver advocate. "I think maybe drivers will be even more desperate" to drive faster. Incentive program: If taxi drivers deliver customers and return to airport within 30 minutes, they can cut to front of pickup line and avoid a fee -- a system officials are now proposing to end. Airport to seek single taxi company system By Pat Kelly News Herald August 24, 2010 WEST BAY Airport Authority board members asked staff and legal advisers Tuesday to put together specifications for bid proposals for a single taxi company to service the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. Currently, 26 separate companies are listed under taxi service on the airport s website, and board members have said they received complaints about vehicle cleanliness and driver decorum for some companies. John Finch of Sunshine Shuttle, who has appeared before the board on several occasions urging a single transport company, made a pitch again Tuesday for a single company to handle taxi, shuttle and limousine service at the new airport. Sunshine Shuttle also operates out of Northwest Florida Regional Airport near Valparaiso and Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport. A single company would bring more consistent service and vehicles, including driver uniforms, to visitors arriving in Panama City Beach and other Panhandle communities, helping to protect the region s brand, he said, a view echoed by board member Dawn Moliterno of Walton County. It would assure the airport the best ground transportation available, Finch said. You would have one point of contact for customer service, rather than a multitude of companies. Airport Executive Director Randy Curtis said other airports such as Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers have single-company systems that could serve as a model for the Bay County airport. I don t think we have anything to lose, board member Till Bruett said. It would be something the airport staff wouldn t have to worry about except to work with one person. I just don t see any downside. Board members said they always could reject the bids and keep the multi-company system if the proposals seemed unworkable or too expensive. Member John Pilcher III said he thought asking for bids would be a waste of time unless the board made a commitment that this is the route we are going to take. He said he was skeptical one company could accomplish everything a multi-company system could. Page 7

8 Taxicab firm likely to retain LAX contract despite previous allegations By Art Marroquin Daily Breeze February 21, 2011 A longtime taxicab management firm is poised to remain at Los Angeles International Airport for another decade despite previous allegations that the company mishandled funds. Authorized Taxicab Supervision, which oversees more than 2,300 taxi drivers at LAX, was accused of financial mismanagement in an audit released in January 2007 by the Los Angeles City Controller's Office. The proposed contract with ATS, expected to generate $2.7 million annually for LAX, will likely be approved today by the Board of Airport Commissioners, despite an anticipated turnout of several taxi cab drivers who are expected to protest the deal. "We're obviously very disappointed and deeply concerned about the failure of the city and the airport for protecting us and the good customers of these taxi services," said Hamid Khan, who serves on an organizing committee for the Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance. "Not only did they fail to hold ATS accountable for all the irregularities found in the audit, they have betrayed us," Khan said. Behzad Bitaraf, general manager of Authorized Taxicab Supervision, did not return three phone calls seeking comment about the pending contract with LAX. An audit released four years ago by then-city Controller Laura Chick found that ATS dispensed cash to the managers of cab companies, but failed to document the reasons. The company also allegedly paid employees who were purportedly injured on the job, but failed to file required reports with the state. Additionally, ATS allegedly paid off-duty police officers to direct traffic and roam the airport in their own cars to seek out bandit taxis, according to the report. The audit also criticized airport officials for failing to monitor ATS, which has managed taxicab operations at LAX for more than two decades. Airport officials say the issues raised in the controller's audit have been addressed, while ATS will implement a cashless fee collection system sometime during the term of the new contract. Additionally, LAX will incrementally increase the amount it collects from each cab entering LAX, from the current rate of 50 cents to $1.70 per trip by July 1, Two previous attempts to award a new taxicab management contract were scuttled by the airport commission, which allowed ATS to continue operations at LAX while staff spent the last several years searching for a new company. "The selection panel carefully reviewed each proposal and we look forward to sharing the results with the board," said Michael Molina, deputy executive director of external affairs at LAX. Airport commissioners delay decision on contract for taxicab firm By Art Marroquin Daily Breeze February 22, 2011 The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners on Tuesday delayed a decision on whether to award a contract to a longtime taxicab management firm at LAX, allowing the panel to review a protest filed by a rival bidder. Executives with Newark, N.J.-based Gateway One Group filed the protest last week, alleging their bid was rejected due to irregular scoring methods by an airport selection panel. Airport staffers ultimately recommended that a 10- year contract be awarded to Authorized Taxicab Supervision, despite previous allegations by the City Controller's Office that the company mismanaged funds. The contract is expected to come back to the airport commission in two weeks, said Michael Molina, deputy executive director of external affairs at LAX. "We were prepared to fully defend our process today because we believe that the selection panel chose the right proposer," Molina said. "However, we're happy to give some time to the commission and explore the issue closer." Page 8

9 Editor s Comments: Airport Executives Airport parking for less than $4.99 a day breaks out in a competitive battle between Jacksonville International Airport executives and their local off-airport parking owner. As we know, there is often spirited competition between on- and off-airport operations and Jacksonville is not the first to find determined off-airport parking lot operators who compete through the offering of services such as curbside pickup, free carwashes, luggage assist, and more. The bottom line seems to be that the airline travelling public benefits when there exists such competition for their parking dollar. More serious is the airport passenger drain being felt by Canadian airports located close to the U.S. border. As the second article, Federal fees drive Canadian flyers to U.S. Airports shows, U.S. airports would appear to have significantly lower airfares due to their lower airline landing fees. It would appear that the airline travelling public is benefiting again by competition among the airports for their travel dollar. The third article about the city of Indianapolis may seem a little out of place for airport executives but it does help make a point. The City of Indianapolis deregulated its taxi operations several years ago, permitting open entry into their taxi market. As one might expect, this experiment in free enterprise soon went badly and city officials have spent considerable time trying to put the taxi industry back together again. For example, just last year, numerous taxi companies were found to be running without any insurance and the city was forced to revoke their operating licenses. Now there is widespread concern that credit card fraud can be traced to their taxi operations. Thus, new city code will force taxi companies to use a secure wireless device for processing user s credit cards. The point of this article is that if a city can force all its taxi operators to take credit cards and use a secure wireless line, when are all North American airports going to make this a standard at their facilities also? Many already do, but others, often large airports, are reluctant to force the issue fearing political fallout from such a requirement. Message to airports: It's time to abandon such silly systems as having the taxi dispatcher signal for a credit card cab and force all taxis wishing to serve airport customers to accept credit cards. And, knowing the common tricks in the airport taxi industry, place a sticker on the back of the passenger s seat headrest that reads, If this driver s credit card processing equipment is not working, the ride is free!" One would be amazed at how such a little sign can keep all credit card equipment in good working order! The final airport executive article for ground transportation managers is the $1.4 million dollar settlement recently won by airport parking lot shuttle drivers hired by the TSA. As this article demonstrates, it is not only the parking firm that employs the drivers but also the entity, in this case the TSA, the federal government itself, that is responsible for the underpayment of drivers if found in default by the Department of Labor. So, airports need to make sure that the winning shuttle bus concessionaire for their parking lot shuttles is paying at least the federal minimum required amounts, following all overtime rules, and doing so in a timely manner lest they get stuck with an adverse judgment similar to that just handed to TSA. Page 9

10 JIA adjusts parking rates in push for more customers By Larry.Hannan January 25, 2011 It's dropping prices in some lots, raising others to cut garage crowding. New rates The Jacksonville Aviation Authority has adjusted the parking rates at Jacksonville International Airport starting Feb. 1. The new rates are expected to increase revenue by $1.6 million and capacity by 10 percent. Rates include: - Hourly garage: Maximum daily price increases from $16 to $18.* - Daily garage: Maximum daily price increases from $12 to $14. - Daily surface lot: Maximum daily price declines from $10 to $8. - Economy lots: Maximum daily price declines from $6 to $4. - Economy lot 3: Daily flat rate decreases from $25 to $20. * Incremental rates in the garages and daily surface parking lots will remain at $1.50 per 20 minutes. Janet Bernard is ready to fight Jacksonville International Airport to retain her customers. Bernard, owner of V.I.P. Park & Ride at 1565 Airport Road, is one of a half-dozen businesses that offer parking and a ride to the airport, putting them in competition with JIA for the parking revenue. On Monday the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, which runs JIA, approved a parking rate adjustment that will lower overnight rates in the daily surface and economy parking lots. New rates begin Feb. 1. However, the cost of parking overnight in the hourly and daily lots closer to the terminal will increase. The airport doesn't want people leaving their vehicles in those lots for long periods, but the price of parking for a few hours will stay the same. The rate change means JIA will now have cheaper parking in some lots than the $4.99 a day that Bernard offers. But she isn't worried. "We offer personal service that the airport can't match," said Bernard, mentioning curbside pickup, a free car wash, and having her employees check a customer's luggage upon arrival at the airport. "I don't think we'll lose any business." Rates for the daily surface parking and economy lots 1 and 2 will be lowered by $2, while the parking rate for economy lot 3 will be lowered by $5. The hourly daily garage rates will each see a $2 increase. Incremental rates in the garages and daily surface parking lot will remain at $1.50 per 20 minutes. Nancy Coppen, JAA parking administrator, said one of the major goals of the rate change is to get cars out of the daily and hourly lots. People park there because it's closer to the terminal. "Too many cars are staying overnight at the hourly garage because of the low rates," Coppen said. That becomes a problem in the morning and afternoon hours because people coming to the airport to meet and greet arriving passengers can't find a parking space in the lot meant for them, creating more traffic congestion around the airport, Coppen said. Airport Authority Executive Director Steve Grossman estimated that 65 percent of the hourly garage parking spaces are filled overnight. Grossman wasn't sure if a $2 overnight increase, from $16 to $18, would be enough. "If six months from now we've seen no movement out of the hourly garage," Grossman said, "we may have to look at adjusting it more." Coppen said the airport expects to generate an additional $1.6 million in parking revenue in fiscal year The airport generated $15.2 million in parking revenue in fiscal year Occupancy rates are expected to increase by about 10 percent. The increase is due to the new rates, and the airport's assumption that more people will use the airport in 2011 with the economy getting better. The number of people using the airport in November 2010 increased by 8 percent compared to November In December the airport saw a 3 percent increase in traffic. The possibility of the airport getting more customers didn't thrill Gary Pada, manager of Park EZ Fly at 1479 Airport Road. "The last couple of years have been pretty bad," he said. "We're just starting to get more business." Having the airport make a play for more customers won't help, Pada said. But Bernard expressed confidence that her customers would remain loyal. "When you get off the plane and call us we make sure there's a van waiting for you when you get to the curb," she said. "And we don't wait for the van to fill up." Both businesses offer rates of $4.99 a day. Page 10

11 Federal fees drive Canadian flyers to U.S. By Byrn Weese Sun Media January 1, 2011 OTTAWA Dennis Bevington has to fly pretty much everywhere he goes. Not just between Ottawa and his home in Canada's Arctic, but also around his constituency which covers all of the Northwest Territories. And it's not the scanning and security gropings which he jokingly calls "free body massages" that have the NDP MP all worked up. Instead, he's angry the federal government has been slow to react he says it hasn't reacted at all to the concerns of the airline and airport industries that the federal government's exorbitant ground rents, security fees, fuel excise taxes and other charges, which are all passed on to the passenger, are driving Canadian flyers to American airports. And that's costing the Canadian economy billions. "In Canada, the federal government views airports as revenue sources cash cows to be milked whereas the federal government in the United States actually helps subsidize their airports and views them as economic generators that create jobs and strengthen the local economy," Bevington said from Edmonton Friday. "There's no doubt that our aviation security fees and the rent that the federal government charges airports is a major factor that is influencing this migration of passengers from Canadian airports to nearby American ones." Indeed, according to reports, one in six Canadians flying to U.S. cities do so from American not Canadian airports. In Montreal, many flyers opt to start their journey in Burlington, Vt., or Plattsburg, N.Y., where bilingual signs are even posted to help make Quebec passengers more at home. In Toronto, many simply drive to Buffalo, N.Y., where flights to major U.S. centers are sometimes hundreds of dollars cheaper than if they flew from Toronto's Pearson International. Canadians reportedly make up more than 30% of Buffalo Niagara International Airport's passengers. Airports in Bellingham and Seattle, Wash., are close enough to lure many flyers from B.C.'s Lower Mainland. Air Canada recently estimated it would save about $1 billion a year if it operated out of U.S airports instead of Canadian ones because of the higher fees. A recent study found the economic output of Canada's four major airlines Air Canada, WestJet, Jazz, and Air Transat could increase by some $3 billion if airport ground rents to the federal government were eliminated. Pearson International Airport in Toronto paid $140 million in rent in In the U.S., airports not only pay little to no rent, they are also often subsidized by all levels of government. And in addition to rent, the federal government here also imposes security fees which cost upwards of $25 per international passenger as well as fuel excise taxes and sales taxes on fares, all of which is passed on to the passenger. On some domestic flights in Canada, the federal government s fees and other indirect charges can account for 70% of the airfare. "We've seen tremendous efforts on behalf of Canadian airlines to offer cut rates, but there's not much room for them to move with such high government fees that have to be tacked onto each fare," Bevington said. "We need to look for different structures for some of these (Canadian) airports to operate under that will bring costs down, and find ways to improve the efficiency of the service delivery that we have." "We can't continue to drive Canadians to use American airports. It's a tremendous issue that needs to be addressed. Why have we waited as long as we have?" Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Chuck Strahl could not be reached for comment Friday. Page 11

12 New taxi cab credit card system coming this summer By Jake Miller Fox59 January 14, 2011 Quicker, safer and more secure. That's what the goal is for the City of Indianapolis the next time you take a taxi. The city's Department of Code Enforcement is putting the finishing touches on a new credit card processing rule for all cabs that operate in Marion County. If given the green light, cabbies would be required to use a wireless secure device in their cars to process credit card transactions. The passenger swipes the card, a receipt is given for you to sign, then you are on your way. We're told the process is very much like the self serve machines at convenient and grocery stores. Last May, the city began looking to improve safety in the taxi industry, but it was in November when the department really wanted to change things. A Southport woman had her bank account drained because the company used an old carbon paper credit card swiper and the driver used the imprint to make a counterfeit card. Some Circle City cabs already have the new machines, and if approved, all will be required to have them by this summer. "When you get out of that cab you shouldn't have any concern that something's going to happen on down the road that may affect you in a negative fashion," said Adam Collins with the Dept. Of Code Enforcement. The new system is expected to be installed in all of the city's cabs by July 1st. The board of the Department of Code Enforcement will meet January 27th to make a final decision on the rule. Chicago Airport Shuttle Workers Win $1.4 Million Back-Wages Ruling from Government By Lorene Yue Crain s Chicago Busines January 17, 2011 A Texas-based transportation company has been ordered by the federal government to help pay nearly $1.4 million in back wages and benefits it owes some Chicago-area employees. Total Enterprise Inc. of Irving, Texas, was found to have been underpaying 140 employees who worked out of its Franklin Park, Illinois, facility for a three-year period that ended in Total Enterprise had been hired to shuttle Transportation Security Administration employees between O Hare International Airport and remote parking lots. A Total Enterprise representative was not available for comment. The settlement, to be paid by the TSA and Total Enterprise, represents wages that [employees] should have been receiving all along, a Labor Department spokesman said. It s not clear what portion of the award Total Enterprise will pay. The 140 workers shuttle bus drivers, parking lot attendants and bus dispatchers will see payouts ranging from $30,000 to $90,000 for money owed to them from Dec. 31, 2005, through Nov. 7, 2009, the spokesman said. The TSA said in a written statement that it has been working closely with the Labor Department to ensure that Total Enterprise employees are paid accordingly. TSA appreciates the cooperation and assistance of the [Labor Department] in this enforcement action, the agency said in the statement. The nearly $1.4-million settlement requires final approval by an administrative law judge. Wage violations, particularly among low-wage earners, are not uncommon in Cook County, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study. In the past decade, lawsuits filed in Chicago s federal court that allege some violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act have jumped 134 percent. The settlement, to be paid by the TSA and Total Enterprise, represents wages that (employees) should have been receiving all along, a Labor Department spokesman said. It s not clear what portion of the award Total Enterprise will pay. Page 12

13 Editor s Comments: Airport Bus This Airport Bus section has four interesting articles, linked in sort of a failure and success way. The first two articles deal with Houston s Metropolitan Transit Authority's shuttle bus to Bush International Airport, referred to as the Airport Direct, and their significant price drop as a last ditch effort to generate ridership. The second article is from a rider s point of view that actually is in favor of the service but admits there is simply no ridership. In city after city in North America, mass transit systems have been politically goaded into offering some direct airport service because transit supporters just believe people will ride if it is provided. In almost every instance, it ends in failure after millions of dollars of taxpayer monies are wasted. As the first article shows, Houston s MTA's losses amount to $1.5 million per year, but officials are hopeful the fare change will change that! One and a half million dollars of waste! What Houston primary school couldn t use one and a half million dollars for books and other equipment? When are people going to realize that there are not unlimited public funds to waste anymore? On-the-other-hand, the third article shows that as the Airport Direct bus in Houston dies a slow expensive death, Calgary s city council is dipping into their taxpaying city coffers to subsidize a $2-million airport-to-downtown direct bus. Apparently the Canadians still have money to waste! Finally, we are running an old article from February 2007 announcing a new shuttle bus, the Michigan Flyer that would run from Detroit International Airport up to East Lansing with stops in Lansing and Jackson. No subsidy, no public monies, and a fee to the airport to provide the privately offered public bus service ---- AND IT IS STILL OPERATING TODAY AS A PROFITABLE TAXPAYING BUS LINE! Indeed, privately provided intercity bus traffic, especially to airports, has grown during these hard economic downtimes. Attendees to the AGTA Spring Conference in Ft. Myers will hear from and see RedCoach a new luxury intercity bus operation now operating in Florida -- and expanding. The lesson from reviewing airport bus operations is that private operators, risking their own or borrowed funds, have to get it right and make a profit or they are no longer in business, while publicly funded airport bus service will go on losing money, paying no fee to the airport, as long as the public continues to put up taxes for buses with one or two riders. Page 13

14 Metro adding shuttle stops to airport, dropping price By Chris Moran Houston Chronicle Jan. 21, 2011 The Metropolitan Transit Authority's shuttle to Bush Intercontinental Airport will drop in price and add five downtown stops beginning Sunday. The new one-way fare will be $4.50. The route's new stops will be: Airport Direct Passenger Plaza, 815 Pierce (at Travis); Hilton Americas Hotel/George R. Brown Convention Center, at Avenida de las Americas and Polk; Four Seasons Hotel, at Lamar and Caroline; Downtown Hyatt Hotel, at Lamar and Louisiana; METRORail Main St. Square Station/Marriott Courtyard, at Lamar and Main. The 52-passenger bus currently averages two riders per trip from its passenger plaza at 815 Pierce to Terminal C at the airport. The one-way fare is $15. Metro calls the shuttle Airport Direct. It began the service in August Figures provided by Metro indicate that it costs $1.9 million a year and brings in $452,000 in fares, for a loss to the transit agency of just under $1.5 million. Metro officials hope the route change will increase ridership. The new service will operate every 30 minutes, seven days a week, between 4:50 a.m. and 7:45 p.m. Travel time will be 45 minutes. Fares can be purchased using METRO Q Fare Card, METRO Money or cash (exact change). Is Houston Metro's 'Airport Direct' shuttle about to be put on blocks? By Steve Miller Texas Watchdog Feb 23, 2011 The Texas Watchdog team has ridden Airport Direct many times now. This Metro bus service that takes passengers from downtown to George Bush Intercontinental Airport has faced some logical skepticism from adroit local media types, but we are now fully on board, so to speak. The ride is a smooth 45 minutes, few stops, the staff is friendly and it does indeed beat bus route 102's hour-long ramble through the middle of Houston en route the airport. And just as we began to get it comes word that Airport Direct may be in its final days. A staffer at the Airport Direct outpost at the airport told us last night that the Jan. 23 drop in one-way fare, from $15 to $4.50, has increased monthly revenue slightly, but it will have to do more or the plug will be pulled in June. Metro CEO George Greanias hinted as much last fall. The price drop was combined with some increased stops at downtown hotels, hopefully appealing to business travelers who want to beat the $50 cab fare. Didn't corporations say they wanted to cut travel expenses? "We're looking at the numbers coming in and if we get good results from the drop in price and the new stops, it will help," said Metro spokeswoman Margaret O'Brien Molina. "If not, in good faith, the route will have to be looked at." It makes sense; last night there were two riders on Photo of 'Bus in HOV Lane' by flickr user Houston TranStar t h e mammoth bus, and on previous rides the most company we had was three others. And the bus is kept at meat-locker temperatures, surely cutting fuel mileage and keep carbon emissions prolific. It s a terrific quality of life project for Houstonians, and travelers appreciate it as well. But it all comes back to what a state lawmaker told this reporter in the late 90s, talking about the defunct Texas Triangle, a light rail between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio that was quickly scrapped: 'How are you going to get Texans out of their cars?" Page 14

15 Airport bus requires road construction CBC News December 3, 2010 A $2-million boost to Calgary Transit voted on by Calgary city council earlier this week will include an express bus line between downtown and the airport. An express bus line between Calgary International Airport and downtown Calgary will soon be in service after an infusion of cash from the city. (CBC) Travelers and airport workers without their own vehicles have to take $15 shuttle rides, expensive taxis or several connecting bus and LRT routes to access the airport. Some airline employees are happy to hear they will no longer have to scrounge for rides out to the northeast reaches of the city. "There's just not a very convenient way to get to and from [the airport], I find. It can be very frustrating, trying to find somebody to co-ordinate a pick-up and drop-off," said WestJet employee Amanda Gullage, who lives in Sunalta and has a friend drive her to and from work five days a week. "I'd love to see [the bus route] happen. I'd use it. Lots of people would." Business traveler and Vancouverite Ron Vance said he makes the trip to Calgary four or five times a year, and commutes to and from the airport in a cab. "It's not that inconvenient [without a bus] but to save some money would be advantageous, obviously, especially these days," Vance said. Detroit airport extends reach to mid-michigan with bus shuttle By Ellen Creager The Detroit Free Press November 13, 2006 DETROIT A new bus service from East Lansing to Detroit Metro Airport starts Thursday, making life easier for Michigan State University students and any traveler trying to get from mid- Michigan to the airport. The Michigan Flyer will make the trip in 1 hour and 40 minutes, stopping in Lansing and Jackson. Cost is $25 each way ($40 for two; $50 for a family of up to 6). Service is 8 times daily. The first bus leaves from East Lansing at 4:30 a.m. daily and the last leaves at 6:30 p.m. Returning from Detroit Metro, the first bus leaves at 6:55 a.m. and the last at 9:10 p.m. Here's the route: Leaving from the East Lansing City Center Marriott (333 Albert Ave.), it stops at the Sunoco Station in Lansing (3000 Dunckel Road at I- 96), the Jackson Holiday Inn (2000 Holiday Inn Drive at U.S. 127); then Detroit Metro's McNamara, Smith and Berry terminals in Romulus. The coach will have free on-board wireless Internet, reclining seats with headrests and footrests. Parking in East Lansing is available for $2 daily. The Michigan Flyer is owned and operated by Owosso-based Indian Trails. Page 15

16 Editor s comments: Airport Rail At least with publicly provided airport bus service, the subsidy is only a few million per year, chump change compared to some of North America s airport rail schemes. As the following article shows, Chicago is not content to subsidize its current airport-to-downtown rail service, but the governor would like to pour considerably more money into the airport rail service by constructing a fast nonstop passenger rail service between Chicago Union Station and O Hare International Airport. No doubt the governor plans to use federal high speed rail grants to build his airport bullet train line, so why worry? For the most part, other taxpayers are going to build it for only a billion or so. In a city where the majority of minority students fail to graduate from high school, public officials want to waste billions of capital monies to build an airport rail line that will shave 5 to 10 minutes off an already existing airport rail service. Incredible! The accompanying airport rail article deals with the closure of the Tri-Rail station in Miami, thereby enabling public officials to spend more tax dollars to build a $1.7 billion dollar intermodal transportation hub to be known as Miami Intermodal Center or MIC. Consider that the Tri-Rail station is only fourteen years old and was built at a cost of $14.5 million. Officials now say that tearing that one down and replacing it will allow construction on the MIC sooner, thereby saving taxpayers $12 to $13 million. Wouldn t it be a better idea to just not build the MIC and save taxpayers nearly $2 billion? Does anyone really think debt-ridden Miami needs the MIC which will require substantial yearly subsidy anyway? Oh well, we're talking federal money and that isn t real money, or is it... Amtrak exploring O'Hare service By Jon Hilkevitch Chicago Tribune February 20, 2011 In the future, one of the carriers serving travelers at O'Hare International Airport may be Amtrak. Gov. Pat Quinn has asked Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman to conduct a study examining what it would take, logistically and financially, to commence fast, nonstop passenger rail service between Chicago Union Station and O'Hare, your Getting Around reporter has learned. The governor envisions the proposed rail line, which at this point is strictly conceptual, as offering a more extensive reach than the O'Hare branch of the CTA Blue Line, which runs between the Loop and the airport, and Mayor Richard Daley's plan for premium "Airport Express" service between the uncompleted Block 37 "super station" downtown and O'Hare. Quinn's plan certainly would not resemble the impractical idea for a bullet train to O'Hare that Daley toted home last year after he rode a magnetic levitation train in Shanghai. The Shanghai Transrapid maglev train must start braking shortly after reaching its top speed of 268 mph, and it doesn't even go into downtown Shanghai. But Quinn does see opportunities to build a synergistic connection between O'Hare, which serves tens of millions of air travelers each year, and state efforts to draw customers to the 110 mph passenger rail corridors it is constructing, beginning with the 284-mile route between Chicago and St. Louis. Downtown Chicago and O'Hare represent the two largest employment centers in Illinois, creating a perfect setting for a premier trains-to-planes service that would attract new employers and riders, Quinn said. "This connection would also provide better access to downstate cities and significantly boost ridership" outside the Chicago area, the governor wrote in a letter to Boardman this month. "Advancing this connection would also establish O'Hare as a central and connected component of the nine-state, 110-mph Midwest Regional Rail System," the Quinn letter said. The Midwest High Speed Rail Association already has supported an express rail link connecting O'Hare and Union Station. The association also has proposed that the higher-speed routes planned for the Midwest be linked directly to O'Hare to accommodate Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana travelers who will be able to ride trains to and from O'Hare. Page 16

17 The governor asked Boardman to complete the study this summer. The initial questions he wants answered include how quickly service could be introduced, where Amtrak would accommodate the airport trains at Union Station, where the O'Hare station might be located on airport property and "how we would make rail-air ticketing and baggage connections seamless for passengers." One of the biggest problems is developing a route to O'Hare from tracks Amtrak uses. Metra's North Central Service to Antioch operates limited weekdayonly service from Union Station with stops at the O'Hare Transfer Station, which is on the fringes of the airport near Economy Parking Lot F and the Cell Phone Lot. Metra uses the Wisconsin Central Railroad tracks, which are owned by the Canadian National Railway. One reason Metra has not increased its North Central Service schedule is that CN has refused to expand the commuter railroad's track privileges, officials said. The Amtrak study that Quinn requested will include discussions with CN/Wisconsin Central and Metra, said John Webber, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation. Tri-Rail station at MIA to close in weeks By Alfonso Chardy The Miami Herald January 29, 2011 The nine members of the board that governs Tri- Rail agreed Friday to close the popular Miami Airport Station just east of Miami International Airport -- a move that upset some riders. ``What were they thinking?'' said Leonardo Cabezas, who says he uses the train to visit relatives in Palm Beach County or after he arrives in Miami from a trip abroad. ``I hope that when our new governor learns of this he will intervene.'' Officials are aiming for a March 11 closing date for the station. Tri-Rail staff officials said the move is temporary while a huge $1.7 billion transit hub is being built just east of MIA, next door to Tri-rail's Miami Airport Station. However, that hub, known as Miami Intermodal Center or MIC, is not expected to be completed until The closure is necessary to speed construction of the center. When it's done, an upgraded Tri-Rail station will reopen within the hub, Tri-Rail officials said. If the station is not closed and demolished, construction of the MIC would be delayed by two years, officials say. Closing the station marks a bit of an ironic milestone in Tri-Rail's history. When the $14.5 million station opened in 1998, then U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater hailed it as the cornerstone of what was then merely a proposal to build the MIC. Now that cornerstone will be demolished to make room for the intermodal center, which will connect various modes of transportation under one hub, including Tri-Rail, Metrorail, Metromover, Greyhound buses and rental cars. An automated train known as the MIA Mover will carry passengers along an elevated track linking the center to the airport. NO PAIN, NO GAIN Tri-Rail passengers will be temporarily inconvenienced, but when the new station opens within the transit hub, the service will be much more efficient, said Joseph Giulietti, executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. Riders will have a choice of transit services, which could include Amtrak or even include a bullet train in the distant future. ``All major cities would like to have a central hub and have options,'' Giulietti said. Trying to build the MIC around the station would have been a costly logistical challenge, said Gus Pego, head of the Florida Department of Transportation office in Miami. Closing and removing it will expedite MIC construction and save FDOT millions. ``It's kind of like relocating a utility,'' Pego said. ``You're temporarily relocating the utility so you can do the work, and moving it back.'' The bigger benefit, he added, is completing the construction sooner and saving $12 million to $13 million to the taxpayer. UNWELCOME NEWS Still, some riders at the Miami Airport Station did not like the news Friday. ``I am not in agreement with the plan to shut down the station,'' said Consuelo Merino, visiting from Ecuador, who was waiting on a train to West Palm Beach to visit friends and relatives... Page 17

18 Editor s Comments: Airport Shuttle Vans New York and Atlanta airport shuttle van drivers are in hot water after participating in illegal and over the line behaviors. As the first two articles demonstrate, airline passengers landing in a strange city, depend upon the airport to have screened the public transportation companies that greet them groundside. In the case of New York s JFK, it was an illegal shuttle van driver and his accomplice who were poaching unsuspecting tourists at JFK. Fortunately, they were caught, prosecuted and both are serving jail times for reckless endangerment and assault. In Atlanta, a single woman s worst nightmare was becoming a reality when a shuttle van driver made unwanted advances while she was the only rider in the van. Fortunately the driver eventually returned the woman to the airport without physical incident. However, the incident demonstrates a chain of liability had anything worse happened. Obviously the offending driver would be held for charges, the van company would be questioned about proper selection and screening of their drivers, Delta Airlines would be held accountable for using the van company, and finally, the airport would have to show that it was using reasonable and due care in permitting the van company and their drivers to transport customers. Attorneys would sue anyone and everyone who had a hand in putting this lady on that van. And -- you know, maybe that s what they should do to make sure everyone in this chain of liability does their job correctly. The article from L.A. concerning the website,, is interesting because it would appear to be a sign of the digital real times as the travel wholesaler attempts to fill unoccupied seats on vans going to LAX anyway. By using a flat fare of $20 for one passenger with a second for 11 bucks, users can easily remember the pricing as 2011 neat marketing idea. By marketing the service as a cost savings service to passengers and a green alternative to the automobile, the travel wholesaler may very well become the "Priceline" for transportation. Finally, a feel good success story about Go Airport Shuttle and the 15% discount they are offering at more than 47 airports around the world when you use your VISA card... The emergence of shared ride van services by Go Airport Shuttle and SuperShuttle have established a fourth alternative in the airport ground transportation market in only a few decades. In addition to traditional taxis, buses, and limousines, nearly all North American airports offer their public a shared ride service alternative. Man who took French tourists on NY chase sentenced Associated Press February 11, 2011 NEW YORK -- A driver of an illegal airport shuttle van who pleaded guilty to taking a group of French tourists on a police chase through New York City has been sentenced to a year in jail. Police say Khaalif Preacher and an accomplice directed the tourists to their van as they looked for transportation to Manhattan outside John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens in June An officer tried to stop them, but they took off. Police chased the van for 7 miles through Queens and Brooklyn before it crashed. One of the five tourists was injured while trying to jump from the moving van. The others were unhurt. Preacher was sentenced Thursday for reckless endangerment. His accomplice, Ian McFarlane, was sentenced last month to 90 days in jail and five years of probation for assault. Woman Claims Airport Shuttle Driver Crossed The Line WSB TV January 20, 2011 ATLANTA -- A shuttle driver at Atlanta s Hartsfield-Jackson airport is under investigation after a passenger said he harassed her. A woman said what he did, while driving her to a hotel, crossed the line and made her fear for her safety. The alleged saga started at Hartsfield-Jackson airport Tuesday night after passenger Tiffany Lee said she missed her connecting flight from Atlanta to New Bern, N.C. Delta Airlines then gave her a hotel voucher and sent her to catch a shuttle. They told me to go get on a shuttle and a man out there, he was supposed to take me, Lee told Channel 2 s Erica Philips. Page 18

19 Lee said her voucher was for a Ramada hotel, but when she and the driver arrived, they discovered it was closed for renovations. Then he took me to two other hotels, saying he knew where another one was. And when we pulled out of the third one, I told him to take me back, and he started touching my legs, Lee said. He asked me for my phone number and was begging me to go eat with him. She said the shuttle driver finally took her back to the airport where she alerted the authorities. She filed a police report recounting an uncomfortable 45-minute ride. The shuttle driver told Philips he had no comment about the incident. Lee said she was willing to tell her story for the sake of other potential victims. I just want other people to know, because I don t want something to happen to someone younger than me and they can t do anything about it, she said. College Park police were investigating the claim, but no arrest has been made. Officers called the driver a person of interest, saying he could face simple battery charges. A manager at the company he works for said they were unaware of the incident. Passengers Save $21,045 in First Two Weeks of Business for By Paul Turner Smith January 28, 2011, a travel wholesaler based in Los Angeles, California, announced on January 10, 2011, that it would begin to sell $20 pickups from your door to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), no matter where you live in the Los Angeles area. And each additional passenger is even cheaper, at just $11 each. That s $20 for the first, and $11 for each additional. 20/11. Get it? As easy to remember as The way we do it is by selling empty seats on the major shuttle van companies already serving LAX Now, a mere two weeks later, has booked 1,220 reservations. That equals a total of $21,045 of savings, over other transportation alternatives, for passengers traveling to Los Angeles International Airport. The way we do it is by selling empty seats on the major shuttle van companies already serving LAX, said Paul Turner Smith, s Marketing Manager, So, our passenger gets a cheap seat on one of the premier carriers, and the carrier gets one more passenger they wouldn t have had. Everybody wins! We re like the Priceline for transportation. That s also 1,220 private vehicles off the road. At 20 miles as an average trip, and 1.1 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per mile for an average car, that s 26,840 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions saved over s first two weeks of service. That s a good start! said Smith, And, it really is nice to have a job at a company that can make a difference. When people get out of their private cars which is the number one form of getting to LAX and into shuttle vans, they re sharing a ride, and that s good for our air, and good for our crowded roads. Los Angeles International Airport is ranked the fourth busiest in the world. But, in terms of cars going in and out of it, it ranks number one in the world. Tens of millions of people each year take their car to get to LAX. And, in addition, many of these are dropped off by a family member or friend. When your spouse or friend drops you off at LAX, it turns into double the gasoline, double the traffic, double the pollution, and double the hassle, said Smith. And now, with our $20 fares from anywhere, it could turn out to be double the price. We wanted it to be a no-brainer. For $20, why would you do anything but take a shiny shuttle van to LAX? And when you do that, and enjoy the door-toterminal service, you hardly feel the fact that you re also doing the right thing you re ridesharing! Go Airport Shuttle Discount Code Coupon By Transreviews January 21, 2011 Go Airport Shuttle, a leading transportation provider, provides shuttle service to and from more than 47 airports with in the US. GO Shuttle is offering a 15% shuttle discount for online reservations which are paid using a Visa card. The Visa promotion is valid until and requires a 24 hour advance shuttle reservation in order to redeem the GO Airport Shuttle discount. Page 19

20 Enter coupon code VISA in the promotion field box at The Go Airport Shuttle coupon is also valid for travel in Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean. Cheap parking at Memphis airport By Jerry Chandler Media USA Inc February 25, 2011 Delta's hub in Memphis (Photo by Rainer Ebert) Cheap flights are terrific. Reduced rates on a hotel room are great. But to wring the last vestiges of savings form your next vacation you ve got to work all the options. And that means finding a cheap, convenient place to park at the airport. If you re flying out of Memphis, Delta s Air Lines humanely-sized mid-south hub, that s a bit easier now. MEM just opened its East Economy Parking Lot adding 1,035 spaces to the mix. The rate: $8.00 a day. Coupled with the 690 spaces in the West Economy Lot the move is going to help cushion the overall loss of parking spaces while the three-level parking garage in front of the terminal is being renovated. Memphis Economy Lots come under 24/7 security scrutiny and sport free shuttle service to the terminal. When you find a space in which to settle your car head to the covered pedestrian shuttle shelters. They re just off the perimeter of the lot. A shuttle will show up shortly. On the other end of the trip, after you ve returned, go to the baggage claim area. Then walk to the shuttle shelters located along the outer lanes of Terminals A, B, and C. The shuttles identify themselves with Economy Parking signs. Dismayed that while you were away your battery went dead, or you got a flat? Memphis offers 24-hour free help. Call and someone will ride to the rescue. They ll even help you find your car if you forgot where you left it. That kind of things happens. Honolulu airport's interisland valet service to end KHON2 February 27, 2011 The Valet parking service at the Honolulu International Airport's Interisland Terminal will be e n d i n g operations effective Monday, Feb. 28, due to declining public use. The service would routinely s e r v e approximately 400 cars per day over three-day weekends in 2006, but usage rates have declined steadily since the completion of a new airport parking structure in Feb For more information, please call the state Department of Transportation Public Affairs Office at (808) or send an to New KAYAK Mobile App Allows Users To Book Ground Transportation By Transreviews January 26, 2011 The newest version of the iphone application released by KAYAK allows travelers to book ground transportation in addition to searching for airline flights, hotels and rental cars. KAYAK is the largest travel search site in the world and launched their first mobile application in 2009 which has reached more than 5 million downloads. KAYAK partnered with GroundLink to allow travelers to find ground transportation worldwide including executive sedans, SUV s and limousines from more than 5,000 airports, 15,000 cities from among 45,000 transportation providers. About GroundLink GroundLink is an aggregator and a solutions provider to the ground travel industry. The company was founded in 2003 is headquartered in New York and operates a retail website called Limores. The company has executed more than 1 million ground travel transactions since it s inception. Page 20